Monday, March 31, 2014


For as long as I could remember, there was nothing more incredible for me than Opening Day.  Now, truth be told, for many, many years I watched Opening day at home, be it the Yankees opening in another park somewhere around the country, or them home at Yankee Stadium.  Baseball season is an amazing time. 

For me personally though, it doesn’t really truly feel like Opening Day until the Yankees play in the Bronx.  This year, especially has been a strange Opening Day, because if you live in New York, the New York Mets have Opening today on the "first official day of baseball".  To that, I say... so? I mean, sure I’ll watch, because it's baseball... but I want my Yankees! 

It is true, I’ll see what Curtis Granderson does today because I liked him in pinstripes and I want to see him continue to be successful.  But let’s face it, wasn’t Opening Day technically last week in Australia?  And for the Yankees, we open tomorrow… in Houston.  Not exactly the way I thought we’d celebrate the start of the Yankees 2014 season, 1 day later.  In other words… today is odd.

Now don’t get me wrong, I celebrated the fact that baseball is finally back, especially after a brutal winter in the Northeast. But I’m not gonna force it, because it almost seems un-American to me that on Opening Day, America’s pastime, the Yankees aren’t playing.  Why? Why would the baseball Gods, or better yet, Major League Baseball, think that that’s OK, or even make any sense?

(In Photo: MLB Baseball in Australia)
Look, whatever I think, I know that’s insignificant in your life, but it’s my opinion that Major League Baseball has watered down what used to be a historic day.  Meanwhile they’re talking out of both sides of their mouth, pushing to make Opening Day a National Holiday.  How is that possible if we’re opening up in Australia, maybe Japan, or even Canada one day?  It’s America’s Pasttime… you know what I mean?

I don’t mean to rain on baseball's parade.  I watched today and will watch so some tonight, but this day, March 31st, MLB’s Opening Day just doesn't feel like it.  It feels disjointed and weird.


I guess I just need to gear up for tomorrow’s opener in Houston featuring the Yankees and the Astros, and I'll be counting down to our REAL Opening day…April 7, 2014...

Back home in the Bronx! 

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On Saturday mornings, I dedicate five hours of my day to a group of young girls. I am a Girl Scout leader. And though I would never compare myself to my other co-leaders, I often wonder if the girls in our group would consider me a good leader? Do I do a good enough job of teaching them the leadership skills they need to become successful? More importantly, what makes a good leader, and do I exemplify that for my girls?

CNN recently had a piece called The World's 50 Greatest Leaders. It is an incredible piece, filled with some of the most influential people in the world. Pope Francis set the Catholic church in a new direction, attracting numerous admires, including atheist. The Dalai Lama has campaigned for peace. He promotes non-violence, and seeks reconciliation among the world. Malala Yousafzai stood up to the Taliban at 11 years old. She was shot on her school bus at 15. All for the educational rights of female's in her country. The list is full of incredibly influential, and inspiring people. And among them is our very own captain, Derek Jeter.

I need to stress the fact that the list has an incredible wealth of individuals that are inspiring. I do not want to devalue our captain. Quite the opposite in fact. I think it is amazing that he made the list. Jeter should be honored to be listed among so many great people. Listed at number 11, just two spots below the Dalai Lama's number 9 spot. I'm seriously in awe! As Yankee fans, we all know that Jeter is an incredible leader. He sets an example. He doesn't just stand there and say "Go do this!" He goes out and does it himself.

"In a steroid-tainted, reality-TV era, Jeter, the son of two Army veterans, continues to stand out because of his old-school approach: Never offer excuses or give less than maximum effort."

Yep, that about sums it up. I remember going to a game where I sat directly behind the Yankees dugout. When it came time to take the field, Jeter was always the first one to run out, and even watching at home, I have noticed that this is true.

But these are things that we pick up on because we are Yankees fans. My brother isn't at all a sports fan. I had to spend some time to explain why Jeter's position on the list was deserved. I had to explain his character, how he carries himself on and off the field. How he represents the team, and himself as an individual. I realized that he exemplifies everything I believe a leader should be. The same characteristics I respected in players like Tino Martinez, Paul O'Neill, Mariano Rivera, and Jorge Posada. Regardless of what he is facing he will "Grind it!" He gives his absolute best in everything he does. He has heart, and motivates everyone else around him to play just as hard.

It's strange to me how we measure the worth of one individual against another. What makes one author better than another? One musician more talented than the next? Is there really a number scale which we can use to accurately place individuals? Or is it all subjective? Is it fair to call one person better at a particular position than another?

Maybe it is all subjective. Your definition of a good leader could differ greatly from mine. But there is one thing we can all agree on. A great leader does great things. A great leader sets an incredible example, and walks with their peers, not ahead of them. Jeter fits the bill. I may never end up on the World's 50 Greatest Leaders list. I only hope to inspire a few young girls to make the same list that Derek Jeter once graced. His spot on this list in a hard earned honor, well deserved.

--Erica Morales BYB Senior Writer
Twitter: @e_morales1804

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Here is a very significant sentence in a piece written by Bryan Hoch of

"With Brendan Ryan beginning the year on the disabled list, Girardi said that he envisions using Dean Anna as the primary backup to shortstop Derek Jeter, while using Solarte more at second and third base."

Now to you and I, fans that have watched the progress of Yangervis Solarte and Anna all Spring, we understand why this is great, but to the haters, they can't believe it!  I can see them now, "Wait, Anna made it? Anna is a 6 year minor leaguer! He has no business being there!"  Well, you know who wanted it enough to make the New York Yankees this season? Dean Anna.

I remember writing a piece a while back titled  ROBERTS TO THE YANKEES IS A DONE DEAL from back in December.  In it, I wrote this:

"Everyone at BYB loves Dean Anna, the "Dean of Swing", he's got mad potential to be great in the Bronx. I hope the Yankees do this platoon move at second, it would be great to see a kid blossom in the position and it would give Brian Roberts alittle incentive to push himself too, plus teach this kid the ropes a bit..."

That was in response to a great idea from Andrew Marchand who at the time suggested Anna and Brian Roberts could be a good platoon idea.  My feeling was simple; Underdogs... or believers deserve a shot.  Anna, is a believer...a believer in himself and so I root for him. I like his grit and guts. Strangely though, that was followed up by a comment from this guy. a non-believer:

To be honest, I found it ridiculous, but all comments are welcome. But I remember reading them at the time, and almost feeling bad for the guy who wrote them.  What was he thinking? I mean, what the hell is so bad about a guy like Dean Anna trying to make to the the Bigs? I mean, what the hell did the guy who wrote the comments accomplish in his own life that he was so arrogant about a "career minor leaguer"?

The best part though... Dean Anna made it.

Sure, he's too proud to wind up with a "suck it" or a "go scratch" to anyone who suggested he wasn't worth taking a chance on.  But I can and I will.  Bottom line, the Yankees are taking a chance on a guy that worked his tail off this Spring and wanted to be in that lineup.  He's getting a chance to prove his worth... with the New York Yankees.

It doesn't get much better than that! 

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Sunday, March 30, 2014


One of the first movies I can remember watching was a black and white, weekend re-run from 1942 and starred Gary Cooper.  It was about the Yankee hero who sits in chair number two of the Yankees Mount Olympus and was appropriately titled “Pride of the Yankees”.

I speak, of course, about Henry Louis “Lou” Gehrig – the greatest first baseman in the history of the New York Yankees, and possibly baseball history.

On any list of greatest Yankees, Gehrig is always mentioned in the top 3 – with good reason. 

Over the course of his 17-year career,  Lou led the league in RBI five times, Runs four times, home runs three times, on-base percentage five times and slugging percentage twice.  However, it is his ability to stay in the lineup year after year that gave him his nickname of “The Iron Horse” and secured his spot in baseball immortality.

From 1925 through early 1939 Gehrig played in 2,130 consecutive games – a record that stood until Cal Ripken broke it in September of 1995.  Gehrig’s streak ended as a result of a disease which today carries his name.  Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, aka “Lou Gehrig’s disease”, is a cruel disease that robs its victims of muscle control, and it is ultimately fatal. 

It was the only thing that could stop “The Iron Horse”.

Before he yielded to ALS, Lou put together a jaw-dropping career.  His average was below .295 only once – the year he finally called it quits.  He drove in more than 140 runs NINE times (that’s not a typo), and scored at least 130 runs NINE times.  He won the Triple Crown in 1934 and in 34 World Series games; Gehrig hit .361 with 10 home runs, 30 runs scored, and 35 RBI.

Twice he was named MVP – ironically he was NOT MVP in 1931 (he finished second to Lefty Grove) when he led the league in runs (163), hits (211), home runs (46), RBI (185 – yeah, not a typo), and total bases (410).

Until 2013 when Alex Rodriguez broke his record, Gehrig was the career leader in grand slams (23), and he was named an All-Star nine times.

Sitting in the heart of perhaps the greatest lineup in history, Gehrig was the quiet, controlled counter-part to the spotlight-snatching Babe Ruth.  Where Ruth’s exploits off the field made for great media fodder,
Gehrig was a reserved homebody, content with going about the daily routine of fine-tuning his craft and playing baseball.

The irony of it all is that the media-shy Gehrig delivered the “Gettysburg Address” of baseball on July 4, 1939 – Lou Gehrig Day – at Yankee Stadium.  It is a speech still referred to today, and passed from generation to generation of baseball fans and players. 

During his career, the Yankees won six World Championships in no small part to Gehrig’s contributions (he was captain of the team from 1935 – 1939).  Through his steady play and subtle class Lou endeared himself to baseball fans for eternity.

In 1939, the year he died, Gehrig was inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame via a special election.  It is proof of his importance to the game he loved.

Gehrig is one of only five Yankees to have their plaque mounted on a red granite block and it reads:

“A man, a gentleman and a great ballplayer whose amazing record of 2,130 consecutive games should stand for all of time.

This memorial is a tribute from the Yankee Players to their beloved captain and team mate.

It is with great honor that we now pay our own tribute to the “Iron Horse” and place him in the second spot in the New York Yankees Mount Olympus.


--Steve Skinner, BYB Writer
Twitter: @oswegos1

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It’s been a brutal winter in the Northeast. I don’t remember it ever being this bad.  You know it’s bad when my kids say they’re “sick of the snow.”  Remember when kids loved snow? That’s changed a bit in my house lately.

To pretend we’re on vacation and keep our sanity, my wife and I will put on music to keep us happy.  After all, it's too cold to go out and no one wants to... so we have a dance party in my house.  Some families dress up like Teenage Ninja Turtles and have battles with their kids... you know who you are. We like to party. We dance, we laugh and we pray for the warmer weather. Hawaiian music is a staple in my house. Happy by Pharrell Williams plays on a loop because it's such a great song. Very positive, very fun to listen to.  Another song is by Elvis Crespo. It's Suavemente.

We don’t speak Spanish, I'm Italian and my wife is Irish and Scottish, but our kids are exposed to everything because the music takes us to different places.  These days, it’s taking us to warm weather and spring. These songs get us in the mood for the warmer weather, the love of happiness and the game of baseball.

Baseball officially started all around the country.  My little guys see me coming in and out of the garage during the week lugging buckets full of baseballs and bats and my Yankee cap is always on.  In fact, early on Saturday, one of my little guys woke me up to give me a lego character... of me.

 "This is you dad. You're a coach", he said as he handed to me. My eyes were still crusted together. I think it was 7am.  I looked at it and smiled. "Give me a kiss", I said.

"Put it on your dressa" he said, and left my room humming. I guess they know me well.  I guess they know it's baseball season and their old man lives for this time of year.

In the Northeast, we’re still practicing in gymnasiums.  Now, the truth is, you can’t play baseball in a gym… that’s all I’m going to say about that.  Baseball is an outdoor sport. The grass, the dirt, the crack of the bat all work well together with the great game of baseball.  Not the echo of a “thud” from a hard baseball on a waxed wood floor.  It just doesn’t work that way.

For years, the start of the Yankees Spring Training meant that the weather would break and so I looked forward to it.  Not so fast if you live in New York this year.  We’ve literally got our asses kicked this past winter.  Many tried to stay positive and focused. But many of us felt like it would never end.  Now… the last few weekends, it's milder, finally. There is the light at the end of the "Winter Vortex" tunnel.  When the weather finally breaks, baseball resumes outside where it belongs.  As coaches, as parents, no doubt we’ll get the kids ready to play.  I like to bring out a radio, put on every song I could remember from my own upbringing, just to see the reactions of the kids while getting them pumped.

Lunatic Fringe. Eye of the Tiger.  Songs that when we were kids would have me running through a brick wall.  They were inspirational and uplifting.  The kids these days will look at me and say, “What’s this song?” My response… "Ask your parents."  That same kid will come back the next week and ask eagerly… “Can you play that Eye Tiger song?” Boom… I got him.

Here are some tips for all you parents and coaches… it’s an approach that I have used for many years now;

Look the kids in the eye when you’re explaining something about baseball.  Don’t yell, that does nothing but piss everyone off. Plus, the kid is less inclined to play hard for you if you do.  At 12 or 13 years old, the kids know the game and what is expected of them. So enforce it, but don’t preach it.  If they're 6 or 7 years old… take your time. They have a lot of learning to do.  If they're 10 or 11, they need to believe that anything is possible, and it’s your job to help them do that.  Make them understand that without them, well, maybe the team doesn’t have a shot. With them, they do.  Explain good sportsmanship, the rally, that practice is important and that sleep and nutrition matter… and yes, they’re allowed to have an Oreo or Doritos once in a while, because, well, they’re kids.  But remind them that it’s not a good diet.   Don’t say, “When I was your age...”, because, they don’t care. Instead say, “Try this,” or “ Put the mitt low”, or “throw over the top.”  And at the end or practice, let them know you appreciate them working for you.

Being a coach, being a teacher or a parent isn’t about you… it’s about them.  So make those kids feel like they are the most important player on the field, collectively.  If you do that… they will always want to play this great game of baseball… and they’ll never forget all you teach.

Be a leader… be a mentor. Teach, don’t preach.  It’s spring… it’s baseball season… thank God.

Play Ball... and Go Yanks!

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The Yankees are finishing up their starting day rosters, and have added two new names to our bullpen. Both Dellin Betances and Vidal Nuno were added to the bullpen.

One of the original members of the Killer B's, along with Andrew Brackman and Manny Banuelos, Betances was moved to the bullpen in the 2013 season. He seemed to find his groove there, and has been dominant this spring training, with a 0.73 ERA in 10 appearances.

Nuno had been primarily a starter. He was in the chase for the fifth starting spot, but lost out to Michael Pineda. He's made 4 spring training appearances, allowed 3 runs on 5 hits. He has a 3.38 ERA, strikes out 8 and did not walk a batter.

I'm really excited about these two additions. I'm very hopeful for both of these young men. I'm a bit bias towards Betances, being he is a true homegrown Yankee, having grown up in New York City, and gone to High School in Brooklyn. I love the fact that he went from using a Metro Card to 161st and River, to going in through the Players Only Entrance. He is the only born and raised New Yorker on the Yankees roster. It doesn't get much more homegrown than that, folks!

I hope to see great things from both Nuno and Betances. Welcome to the big leagues, gentlemen! As Jorge Posada would say "Grind it!"

--Erica Morales BYB Senior Writer

Twitter: @e_morales1804

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Saturday, March 29, 2014


 (In Photo: Yangervis Solarte)
This came as a surprise because I know the Yankees "like" Eduardo Nunez, although over the past year, their "like" has become more of a "meh".  That's baseball.  Overtime, prospects don't pan out and others shine in their place.  The biggest and most important thing is Nunie keep working.  Don't know what I mean? Check this out.

Bryan Hoch of just tweeted some news;
Well, you know how we feel about Yangervis Solarte here at Bleeding Yankee Blue. We see mad potential.  Read THE RISE OF SOLARTE
(In Photo: Yangervis Solarte)

Solarte batted .429 in 42 at bats with 2 home runs in Spring Training.  He was on fire.  Many Yankee fans were pulling for the guy.

But back to Nunez for a second, and trust me, I'm not a hater, but it's clear the guy needs more work and what the Yankees once promoted about Nunez has definitely changed. By no means does it remove Eduardo from Yankeeland.  He'll work in AAA and no doubt he'll be up at some point this season to help the Yanks.

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One of the first lessons you learn in little league is there is no "I" in team. You work together for a common goal. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose. Either way, everyone on the team participates, and everyone is equally responsible for the outcome. When you win, you congratulate one another. When you lose, you evaluate what you did wrong as a team, and how you can change that before the next game. That's what team work is. Last season our ace, CC Sabathia, didn't do so well. So he went, made his changes, and has been dominant this spring. But can he be expected to carry the team?

Richard Justice wrote a piece called "For Yankees to Succeed, CC Must Return to Form." In it he writes:

"If you look at this team from a certain angle, you see a club that's capable of competing for a division championship. Yet if things start to go south, if the older players aren't healthy and productive, if the magic disappears, it could turn into a tough ride.

Regardless of all that, there's almost no scenario for the Yankees to make a run at the post season without a big, productive, workhorse season from their ace."

Hey, I get it! CC needs to step up. I'm sure we are all pulling for him. We all know what CC is capable of. He is a workhorse. There have been plenty of times when he has gone 8 strong innings for us. Put simply, he is undeniably our ace. BUT, he is one man on a five man rotation. 

Honestly, just looking at the names on our rotation makes me hopeful. Along with CC we have Hiroki Kuroda, Ivan Nova, Masahiro Tanaka, and Michael Pineda. All of them have had stellar spring training outings. They are healthy, and they are showing signs that this will be a good season. Though there are a lot of unknowns that could happen through out the season, I'd say we have a decent rotation.

CC, of course, has to be our ace though. And I think that is what Justice was trying to convey in his piece. He has got to be a leader. I think that is a given with CC. I have never seen him play and thought "He isn't being a leader," or "He's not being a team player." The opposite, actually. CC has gone many inning for the Yankees. Many times, he makes it so our bullpen gets some much needed rest. He plays hard, and I appreciate him for it. But, we have a rotation we can put some faith in. Those other four guys work just as hard. It is obvious from watching them this spring that the fire is burning, and they are ready to light it up! 

Bottom line? One man does not a team make. I have faith in CC. His mechanics seem to be on point so far. He is an excellent ace. He is a great example for the rest of our rotation. But wins and losses? That's not a single mans doing. Pitching is important, and we've got it. But so is fielding, and so is hitting. For the Yankees to succeed, all five guys in our rotation, and the bull pen have got to come through, our bats have got to come alive, and our fielders have got to be as close to golden glovers as they can get. 

--Erica Morales BYB Senior Writer
Twitter: @e_morales1804

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Okay, it's a few weeks early for that. But when Yankee fans hear "Pasqua", of course they think of Dan Pasqua. There was a special feel for the Yankees of the 1980’s – where the hits and home runs were more valuable than the fastball and strikeout. I feel a personal attachment to some of the names of that time, and Pasqua was no exception. He came out of the Yankee farm system as a young power-hitting phenom, and he made strong early impressions.

In his first major league game, manager Billy Martin put him in the lineup in the sixth spot. Clearly, he had confidence that this 23-year-old could hit for power. He rounded out the heart of the lineup that read Don Mattingly, Dave Winfield, Don Baylor, and Dan Pasqua. He did not betray his manager’s confidence. In the 5th inning of the game, he drove a ball deep into the right field seats for his first major league hit and home run. He ended up playing 60 games that season, with 166 plate appearances and 9 home runs.

He ended up playing two more seasons with the Yankees. In his time here, he played in 275 games and hit 42 homers in 860 plate appearances – about one home run per 20 plate appearances. He had a batting average of .251 and OPS of .805, which is impressive even by today’s standards. His play in the corner outfields and first base yielded only four errors in his three seasons on the Yankees’ roster.

It was a sad day on November 12, 1987, when I picked up the paper and read that the Yankees traded him, along with pitcher Steve Rosenberg and catcher Mark Salas, to the White Sox for Scott Nielsen and Richard Dotson. By that point, the Yankees realized that poor pitching did not yield much success over 162 games, so they traded some power for some pitching. It is too bad that they did not get much pitching. Dotson, who was past his prime, had a combined 5.13 ERA over 2 seasons with the Yankees. Nielsen’s career 5.49 ERA tells you what you need to know about him.

Pasqua went on to play seven seasons with the Chicago White Sox, before calling it quits early in the 1994 season. He went on to start his own construction company, and later reconnected with the White Sox for various projects (read HERE).  To those of us who remember him in pinstripes, he is a beloved member of the Hall of Bad 80’s Yankees Trades, where he keeps company with Doug Drabek, Jose Rijo, Al Leiter, and many others.

He was a great player, with good power and a good glove, and a guy we all missed as a Yankee.

Also, you can read a very OLD BYB post about Pasqua here... check out: WHY I ROOT FOR THE ITALIANS from June of 2011.

--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Writer
Twitter: @KingAgamemnon
My blog is: Shots from Murderer's Row

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I woke up to the headline "Yankees' CC Sabathia blames weight loss for poor 2013" in the Star Ledger today. I knew right away it was a tactic to get me to read the article and be upset, because if you've been following the CC Sabathia "weight loss" scandal, like the media reports it, you know that it wasn't the weight loss that worried Sabathia at all... it was the loss of muscle that came with the weight loss.  I was hoping Brendan Kuty would at least lay that out for the reader.  He didn't. Well... that's disappointing.

This is how Kuty quoted Sabathia: "I didn't know the weight loss was going to affect me that much. There were just some games that I was short. I didn't have the stuff, you know. It was frustrating."

Now... knowing what we know about muscle loss, leg strength with Derek Jeter for example, you know that the next logical question is... "So was it the weight, or the muscle that affected your performances?"  Logically, all these players have nutritionists, doctors, physical trainers. That being said, we all know that would be the followup.  It's a stretch by Kuty.  I was hoping he would go further. He did... but glossed over it:

"But Sabathia wasn't nearly as strong as he said he is now. In fact, Sabathia said, he's physically stronger than ever, and that he was telling head athletic trainer Steve Doanhue that earlier Thursday.

'Just total body,' he said. 'Legs, everything. Mentally, everything. So I'm ready to go.'"

Sure, we read "stronger" but never did he discuss muscle loss.  Why? The average person has no idea about this type of topic. Wouldn't it make sense to explain it?

Here's the way it works; According to Pacific Health Labs, "unfortunately, the faster you drop weight, the more muscle you lose.

This observation was made by researchers at Rockefeller University. Researchers looked at the effect of different daily caloric deficits on weight loss.  As might be expected, the fewer calories the subjects consumed, the more weight they lost. What wasn’t expected was where the weight loss came from.  In individuals who moderately reduced their daily caloric intake, 91% of the loss was fat and only 9% was muscle. But in subjects who severely reduced their daily caloric intake, fat represented 48% of the total weight loss and muscle 42%.  In other words, the greater the daily calorie restriction, the greater the loss of muscle mass.  For endurance athletes, loss of muscle mass can produce a decrease in strength, power and a decline in overall performance..."

Just so you all know... That was a simple Google search and it was done to give the full story of CC Sabathia's situation.  Remember, I'm a blogger that writes for Bleeding Yankee Blue. I don't write for the Star Ledger... a paper that has been around for a long, long time.  That was a pretty important part of the puzzle.  It would make sense that CC would explain that... if he was asked about it of course.

Look, I don't want to give Kuty a hard time. I just found his article incredibly irresponsible.  It was selective reporting to get Yankee fans riled up on a Saturday morning.  It's sneaky, and it's actually NOT the entire truth.

Well, at least you come here to  Bleeding Yankee Blue and read the truth. 

Enjoy your day.  Sorry I picked on you Kuty... just making sure people understand how it works.

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Friday, March 28, 2014


Quick note about another former Yankee.  Jayson Nix was acquired by the Phillies from the Rays today for cash considerations.  He was added to their 40 man roster.

John Clark from CSN has that in his Tweet:
Nice. OK. Well, it's good to see Nix is still playing and wanted.

Gook luck kiddo.

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I'm not gonna lie to my audience.  I'm at Happy Hour with my wife. We've never done this before, but we tried it tonight because we got a babysitter. Sometimes you need to take advantage of that!  But then... just when I thought I had the night off... I got a text from BYB writer, Rudy Laurens with some good news!

"Aceves is back on a minor league deal." 

"Really...", I said.
"Really?", my wife said. That was followed by a "You have 5 minutes." 

My wife is the best.

As the Margarita flowed, I got to my phone.  Luckily for the BYB readers... we're on top of it... mainly because we love to bring you news.

The news is this; According to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, Alfredo Aceves is back in pinstripes signing a minor league deal with the Yanks:
The idea of having him back with us, possibly to be part of the pro team at some point is appealing to me. Granted, he had a back injury with the Yanks, and with that, he eventually signed with the Red Sox.

I said back in February 2011 in WHY LOSING ACEVES HURTS that Aceves leaving would bite us in the ass.  I was wrong, and thank God I was. Aceves also had a bad attitude with Boston.  You need to wonder if the guy just had a chip on his shoulder or if he just didn't like the organization or what.  I always liked the way he was with the Yankees. I actually thought he was pretty solid with our club and I am pretty happy the guy has come back. The only difference is he will have to work his way up the ladder again.  My prediction this time is he will be better, gathering alittle extra experience out there.  Hopefully he will be helpful.  I always liked the guy.

Welcome back Alfredo... glad to see you back with the Yanks.

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When I think of athleticism I think of speed, dexterity, finesse, strength, movement, power, balance, precision, and how these features work together to make a person successful in his sport.  It has often been said, mostly by MLB players themselves that baseball players can succeed in multiple sports because of the depth of their athleticism.

According to “Orioles center fielder Adam Jones, a great athlete, said, "I've told players from other sports, 'We [baseball players] could play your sport better than you could play our sport.” In other words, players of other sports can’t hack it in baseball, no matter their athletic ability.  In my eyes, the best NBA player of all time is Michael Jordan.  No one has ever moved like Mike, hustled like Mike, floated in the air like Mike or scored like Mike.  Sure we have LeBron and Kobe, but they are no Michael Jordan.  To see him beat Patrick Ewing in the Garden back in the early nineties was one of the most incredible experiences I have ever witnessed.

No one can hold a candle to Michael Jordan, and I am not even a big NBA fan, let alone a Bulls fan.  But he couldn’t play baseball, even when he tried to for the Chicago White Sox as he neared the end of his NBA career.

There have been a number of two sport athletes over the years, most of which eventually chose one sport over the other.  Bo Jackson played left field for the Kansas City Royals and running back for Los Angeles Raiders in the late 1980s before a hip injury ended his football career and cut short his baseball career.  He was the only athlete to be named an All-Star for two American sports.  He was and still is an incredible athlete who is sharing his knowledge with newbies at White Sox camp this spring.  He even warned Seattle Seahawk Super Bowl winning quarterback, Russell Wilson to “keep his talents on the football field, and not expand to the baseball  diamond.”

Wilson has been drafted by the Texas Rangers and has been working out with them this spring.  Wilson would join the likes of Jackson and Deion Sanders who has been encouraging Wilson not to give up his dream of playing football and baseball. 

So why am I saying all of this when it comes to taking the crown of best athlete? Because being a top athlete in any sport means you have depth in multiple areas.  In baseball it means you have power and precision and speed.  And that means you top the charts in hitting and base stealing and defensive magnitude.  There are a number of players that come to mind who fit this profile.

Guys like Chris Davis, Robinson Cano, Miguel Cabrera and Torii Hunter certainly come to mind.  But no one is more vivid in my mind than Mike Trout, my pick for the number one athlete in MLB right now.  He seems to have it all.

Via Baseball Prospectus’ True Average stat, which expresses runs created per plate appearance on a batting average scale after adjusting for park and league scoring conditions, he’s been an even more effective hitter than last year (2012). Like Cabrera (.377), he’s on pace for a season that would rank among the top 25 since 1950, which is as far back as BP’s stats go,” according to Sports Illustrated Strike Zone at the end of last season.  And he is bringing on the heat again this spring, batting .400 with four home runs.  He can run, he can cover center field well and he gets on base.  He is my choice for best athlete.  But I will also say that guys like infielders Manny Machado and Dustin Pedoria, outfielder Bryce Harper, pitcher Max Scherzer and catcher Carlos Santana also should get consideration.

What about the Yankees’ best athlete?  I am hugely behind Brett Gardner for that award but I wouldn’t rule out Alfonso Soriano and Jacoby Ellsbury who definitely place well on the charts in slugging and speed as well.  The one thing that sets Gardner apart of from the pack is his powerful combination of commitment, persona and poise.  He exemplifies what it is to be a Yankee athlete and I appreciate having him on our team.

Baseball is exciting to watch today because of all of the competition and athleticism in the game.  It is exciting to watch young and old play well.  Guys like Derek Jeter this season and even Mariano Rivera last season, who had the athleticism and rigor to come back from debilitating injuries and climb to the top of their game make it even more special to watch.  I look forward to watching records being broken, web gems in the field and monster homeruns topping the highlights of every game.  It’s the great American pastime and it’s baseball at its finest.

--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Opinion Columnist
Twitter: @suzieprof

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